How To Remove Email Addresses To Avoid Mishaps Due To Autocomplete

Some programs that were designed to make your life simpler can in fact make it more embarrassing. Autocorrect in text messaging probably comes to mind. But there is also the autocomplete function in Apple’s mail app. Once you start typing an address in the “to” line of an email, the app checks your address book and will autocomplete it for you if it begins with the first letters of a name that is already there. This is often good, but it can also lead to further problems.

Autocomplete embarrassments

For instance, old or seldom used email addresses for your contacts will make their way into your address book. That’s a problem that writer Brian Sawyer recently addressed at the O’Reilly Answers website. According to Sawyer, he’s often sent business-related email messages to his contact’s personal Gmail addresses because of this. This may not feel like a big deal, but what if the recipient rarely checks his Gmail address? An important piece of business email might be unnoticed for days. What if an entire family uses the same Gmail address? A delicate business email could be read by the wrong person.

Removing autocomplete email addresses

Fortunately, if you are conscious of what emails are getting pulled up frequently, then you can easily delete them from your address book. To do this when you are in Mail, click the “Window” tab. After you select “Previous Recipients,” look for the email address that you want to remove, highlight it and click “Remove From List.”

Monitoring is key

Of course, once you remove an address, there is no guarantee that it won’t eventually return to your address book. Something like collaborating with others through Google Docs can fill your address book with personal, rather then business, email addresses. So if you want to truly avoid any email mix-ups in the future, you will need to occasionally monitor your address book for any email addresses that don’t belong.


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